Ringo Starr is saying “who cares” to the Vatican’s late embrace of The Beatles. Starr rolled his eyes at the Catholic Church, which praised the group and expressed forgiveness to John Lennon for his comments that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.”
“Didn’t the Vatican say we were satanic?” Starr said during an interview with CNN. “And they still forgive us?”
“I think [the Vatican] has more to talk about than The Beatles,” he added, alluding to the child sex abuse scandal that continues to plague the church.
The Vatican offered its latest peace offering to The Beatles in its recent issue of L’Osservatore Romano, its official newspaper, on Monday.
“It’s true they took drugs, lived life to excess because of their success, even said they were bigger than Jesus and put out mysterious messages that were possibly even satanic,” the newspaper said.
But, “what would pop music have been like without The Beatles?” it reasoned, describing the band’s music as “beautiful.”
The Vatican doesn’t appear to be extending the same kind of olive branch to other popular bands, such as Pink Floyd, Queen, Black Sabbath and The Eagles.
In 1996, those groups were among several - including The Beatles - that Pope Benedict XVI warned youth against listening to when he was still a cardinal, claiming their music contained “subliminal” satanic influences.
Lennon’s full quote was “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first—rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.” We suspect the late Beatle would feel the same about the Vatican’s volte-face as Starr does.
Ringo Starr tells Vatican to ‘Get Back’; dismisses effort to ‘forgive’ The Beatles (NY Daily News)
Live version of Kanaan, the bone-crunching opening number from Amon Düül II’s 1968 Krautrock classic Phallus Dei (i.e. God’s Cock). Crazy, communal-living Amon Düül II’s thunderous psychedelic sound has influenced bands from The Fall to the Dead Kennedys to the early sound of the Psychedelic Furs. If you like really heavy acid-drenched freakout music from the 60s, you cannot possibly go wrong with either Phallus Dei or their next album Yeti. Jammy riff-rock and wonderfully anarchic. Listen LOUD.
Ass-kicking Sly and the Family Stone performance from ABC’s “Music Scene” taped in 1969. They’ll be playing at the Coachella Festival this weekend and are one of the acts I am most excited about seeing. There was a year in the mid-80s where practically ALL I listened to were Sly, Alice Cooper, Nick Cave and Herb Alpert! (It made me the man I am today…). I’ve been listening to the music of Sylvester Stewart a lot again lately, too. The man is a bona fide musical genius. He was touched by the gods back then and I hope his muse returns for the big Coachella outing.
Like many opera illiterates, I used to associate Richard Wagner’s “Gotterdammerung” with one thing: Nazis. Those ominous strings, the rumbling timpani, the heroic heralding horns; they could mean only one thing ... more Hitler footage on the History Channel.
No more. Not after Sunday’s decidedly surreal and willfully nontraditional production directed and designed by the German artist and Bertolt Brecht protege, Achim Freyer.
“Gotterdammerung,” or “Twilight of the Gods,” is the final installment of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, and the L.A. Opera took a big chance giving Freyer the $32 million it cost to reinvent this cycle of four epic operas. And reinvent it he did. Gone are the horned helmets, the historical costumes and the idealized 19th century romanticism favored by purists bound to the literal. Freyer has, instead, presented an unsettling but beautiful dreamscape inspired by all the surreal, Dada and expressionistic urges that must have motivated practically every one of the “decadent” artists banned by the Third Reich.
Staged on a minimalist set often resembling a cosmic chess board, Wagner’s story of love, lust and betrayal (based on Norse myths and Germanic hero sagas), featured day-glow lighting, bizarre masks, haunting projections (my favorite was during the Act 2 wedding celebration when the red balloons seemed to transform into portentous red blood cells), make-up reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s psychotic Joker character, florescent tubes doubling as swords and Valkyries who look like drag queens. Siegfried, our hero, was literally dressed like Superman (complete with pumped-up faux muscles) while the evil Hagan, (presented as a paraplegic dwarf dressed like a dandy gangster in a bright yellow suit with hot pink gloves) conjured up memories of Klaus Maria Brandhauer in the 1981 film “Mephisto.”
Add an apocalyptic ending worthy of present doomsday predictions for 2012 and you have one helluva candy-colored Armageddon happening onstage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion!
Not everyone was digging the Jungian excursion into the collective subconscious. “It’s nonsense!” “It’s junk!” “They got the horn all wrong!” But eavesdropping on outraged “Ring-nuts” (who, I hear, travel the world, like Deadheads, to see the various productions) was just part of the fun on Sunday afternoon. The more angry and pompous the Ring-nut, the more I applauded Freyer’s shamanistic visions!
Even though there were moments that whisked me back to New Wave performance art epics mounted by the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the mid-1980s (which may have been inspired by Freyer’s work), the nearly six-hour-long production kept me riveted throughout. So much so that I want to go back and see the entire Ring cycle when it is remounted in May.
And I plan to alert all my friends who, like me, were never opera fans but are likely to become fanatics after they take this psychedelic trip.
Oh, and the best part of all? Hitler would’ve hated every fabulous, subversive, Brechtian minute of it!
Photo: John Treleaven as Siegfried, left, Alan Held as Gunther, center, and Linda Watson as Brünnhilde in Act II. Photo: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times
It’s hard to believe, but the then-controversial, Iggy-tweaked version of Raw Power that set the original David Bowie mix to 11 was released over thirteen years ago. These days, that’s a long time for anything to go un-reissued, so Legacy‘s come out with an expanded edition that pairs a remastered version of the Bowie mix with a ‘73 live set from Atlanta (but not, as Pitchfork notes, the more logical choice: a remastered version of the Iggy mix).
However you slice it—or mix it—Raw Power still packs a wallop. I’ll always prefer the primitive thump of Funhouse, but, as the below short attests (featuring, among others, Henry Rollins, James Williamson and Chrissie Hynde), there’s no denying Raw Power was more the shape of things to come.
I fully realize that my fetish for vintage drum machines is of very specific interest to myself and a small handful of other nerds but I feel that in these two singles from 1967 (!) I’ve found a sort of drum machine holy grail. Evidently Tea Pot (below) was a sizable regional (Chicago) hit for one Simtec Simmons (later of funk duo Simtec & Wylie). If this tune doesn’t qualify as a significant proto-krautrock jam then I dunno what. Endless thanks to Dangerous Minds pal Ian Raikow for pointing me in this direction after my Timmy Thomas post the other day.
But what’s truly mind blowing is this following attempted cash-in single by the same guy under the amazing moniker The Computer and the Little Fooler. As they perfectly framed it over at Office Naps, the fantastic (evidently defunct) blog where I found this incredible artifact,
The weirdest post-War American music has always shown up first on the 45 rpm record, one of the most expedient of commercial music media. But, that said, the strange-witted minimalism of “Computing” and its backwards flipside “Sw-w-wis-s-sh” beggars all belief. “Computing” was neither funny nor weird enough to be a novelty record, nor did it offer anything that anyone could point to as a being conventionally instrumental. There’s simply little sense to be made of it. Sometimes I think this is the greatest record ever made.
I must concur ! “Sw-w-wis-s-sh” is the most mysterious piece of vinyl I can recall, bathed as it is in sheets of white noise tape hiss, a skeletal rhythm section peeking through, bass all random. Yeah !
WHOA! Here’s an excerpt of a bizarre interview freaky YouTube user Tonetta did with Lolokaust:
Lolokaust: Every time someone new comes on the scene the music press always try and categorize and pigeonhole an artist, this wont be easy in your case so how would you describe what you do?
Tone: I don’t really know i just accept what it is
Lolokaust: Do you collaborate with anyone to make your music?
Tone: no I do it all myself
Lolokaust: Who are your musical influences and is there anyone to whom you aspire to?
Tone: the genius John Lennon
Lolokaust: There are many references to the male member in your lyrics, is this something particularly close to your heart?
Tone: I’m simply promoting it.
Lolokaust: Many of the songs are about sexual deviancy, Would you consider yourself a Sexual Deviant?
Tone: Yes I am.
Lolokaust: You have had incidents with Youtube deleting your videos/accounts, What are your thoughts on Internet Censorship?
How sad is this? Paul Hooson writing on the Wizbang Pop blog:
The wife of indie-music icon, Alex Chilton, Laura Kersting, revealed how the legendary singer was suffering serious heart symptoms recently, but had to delay seeking medical help due to a lack of health insurance. According to his wife, the 59 year old singer had been mowing the lawn recently, when he developed shortness of breath and chills. Chilton lived in New Orleans.
Chilton was the lead vocalist of The Box Tops, and had a multi-gold 4 million selling single with “The Letter” at the tender age of just 16. Chilton was scheduled for a reunion show with Big Star only days before he called his wife at work to say that he wasn’t feeling very well. She rushed home to get him, and while in the car, Chilton lost consciousness only a block before they arrived at the hospital emergency room door. Chilton was soon pronounced dead.
Chilton lived in a mixed race neighborhood in New Orleans. He and and his wife managed to survive the great storm that ruined the city in recent years. Strangely, Chilton chose to use a push mower to mow his own lawn, and lived a very humble life. Although, Chilton had sold several million records over his career, he never became wealthy.
Despite a string of great singles and a huge imprint on American power pop music, Alex Chilton was just your “Average Joe” musician.
Thanks Steven Otero!